Target’s well-known reputation for style and design might be getting the best of it in Canada. Rather than drawing customers into stores, shoppers may perceive prices to be higher.
“We know there is a gap in guest awareness of how low our prices really are,” said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We’re deploying multiple tactics. Our efforts will drive greater awareness.”
Chains such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Canadian Tire and Loblaws No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore offer price-matching guarantees against competitors, while Drug Mart and Loblaws full-line stores don’t. Target’s prices in Canada were higher than Wal-Mart’s, according to a price study by Kurt Salmon & Associates, which said pricing is a sensitive issue for Canadian consumers. KSA said some shoppers were surprised that Target’s new stores weren’t on par with the retailer’s pricing in the U.S.
“There’s certainly an interest in fashion and an awareness of fashion in Canada,” said Wendy Liebmann, ceo of WSL Strategic Retail, which recently completed a study, “How Canada Shops.” “The Bay and midtier department stores have upped their offer in anticipation of Target’s arrival. While Canada doesn’t have as many [retail] options as we do in the U.S., they have some good food options, like Loblaw. There may not be as many stores or retailers, but there’s Costco and Wal-Mart.” RELATED STORY: Target Net Slips; Revises Guidance Down >>
No one expects Wal-Mart to take the competition lying down. Wal-Mart said it will spend 450 million Canadian dollars ($430 million at current exchange) on growing its operations in Canada, a year after spending nearly $750 million to open 46 stores. The retailer, which offers fresh food in about half of its locations, plans to make fresh food available in all stores. Target has been aggressive in this area with PFresh in the U.S. In Canada, the merchandising is similar.
Liebmann said foreign retailers often underestimate the Canadian market. “The complexity of Canada is going to be more challenging than originally anticipated,” she said. “There’s a cultural thing that just makes it different.”
The Canadian retail scene will get more competitive. Safeway last week pulled out of Canada, selling its 223 stores to Sobeys, which will be a formidable competitor, experts said. Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Victoria’s Secret and Chico’s are looking to enter Canada, and Nordstrom is launching there in 2014.
One retail executive who’s not eager to open stores in Canada is Terry J. Lundgren. The chairman, president and ceo of Macy’s said in June, “We’ve looked at Canada longer than anybody. We’ve been looking for 15 years and many opportunities came that we passed up. There’s certainly growth happening in the market. There’s going to be an onslaught of retailers fighting it out for market share. My point of view is, I think it’s done. There’s going to be a big battle going on there for next 10 to 12 years.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
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The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
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EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)